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Seth Zenz | Imperial College London | UK

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Numerical Family Connections

Just a brief random thought at the start of the first winter break in my life where I’m not visiting or living with my parents… Whenever I need the number π — that is, the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter — in computer analysis code I’m writing, I always write it out like this:

3.141592654

That’s not exactly π, but it’s quite close. What I really should do is look up where it’s already defined in the math library I’m using, but this is more than accurate enough for any reasonable purpose. It’s too many digits, in fact, although I know a few more. So why do I always write out exactly that many places? Well, after thinking about it for a minute a little while ago, I remembered the answer: it’s the number of digits of π my dad taught me when I was a kid.

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